WHAT do pop superstar Katy Perry and last year's winner of MasterChef Australia, Julie Goodwin, have in common?
West Side Story, the musical based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
Or, more specifically, West Side Story's leading woman, Julie Goodwin, who has been mistaken for both the saccharine songstress (because of her looks) and the generously proportioned cook (because of her name).
Dying her hair from her trademark blonde to dark brunette for the role of Puerto Rican Maria in the high energy dance musical was a necessity, but Goodwin didn't foresee that it would lead to those Katy Perry comparisons.
“It's a huge change, but I don't think a blonde Puerto Rican works,” she said.
“I'm quite used to it now, but when Katy Perry was in town and I had my lashes on, I had a lot of comments.”
Goodwin, who, like the MasterChef winner, has a deep appreciation of food, said her first love was musical theatre.
“The first show I saw was comic opera Die Fledermaus - I was about six years old,” she said.
“I just loved it and thought '“I want to be an opera singer'”.”
The Sydney-based soprano grew up in Brisbane and studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
She has played two plum roles in major productions - The Phantom of The Opera and now West Side Story - but said she would jump at the chance to appear in My Fair Lady, Les Misérables or a Rodgers and Hammerstein piece.
She described her latest role of Maria as a hard, dramatic journey.
“The fact that the story is about two ethnic groups at war is still very relevant today - all over the world - including Australia," she said.
“The songs are beautifully written, quite timeless, and the dancers are just amazing - so energetic.”
As for those pop star comparisons, Goodwin has recently released her first album Art Songs in English and said she would love to do a fully orchestrated album in music theatre, opera or even a pop opera style.
West Side Story is on at Burswood Theatre from October 7.